Kenosha mayor says ‘justice will be served’ in officer-involved shooting that seriously injured man

KENOSHA, Wis. — Kenosha area leaders held a news conference Monday afternoon to address the police shooting of Jacob Blake on Sunday that has drawn national attention overnight.

Blake, 29, was shot multiple times in the back by an officer near 28th Avenue and 40th Street around 5:15 p.m. Sunday. Police said officers were initially called to the area for a “domestic incident” and after Blake was shot, officers provided immediate aid to Blake, who survived and was airlifted to a hospital in Milwaukee on Sunday.

The Kenosha news conference on Monday had been planned to take place outside the Kenosha County Courthouse, but the news conference was delayed briefly and moved inside the building after protesters surrounded the area. Protesters tried to follow, but police refused to let them in. Protesters eventually broke down the door and the news conference was moved to the back of the building.

Mayor John Antamarian said his “heart goes out” to the family of Jacob Blake.

“I cannot think of anything that is harder than what just occurred to them,” Antamarian said. “The commitment that I make to everyone — I make to their family, to the officer and everyone else — is justice will be served. People will be held responsible for their actions and we will know the truth, and that truth will be out to the public.”

Terrance Warthen, who is part of the board of directors with the non-profit political group Our Wisconsin Revolution, said during the conference that he was speaking there as a citizen and he understands “the anger and the fear and the frustration that we see on our streets.” He called for community unity following Blake’s shooting and for the future.

“I need lasting change and I need us to engage in this in a way that moves forward,” Warthen said. “Because all this is great, the attention on this issue helps us drive home that this community needs justice. But a week from now, a month from now, a year from now, these cameras will be gone, most of these protesters will be gone, but those of us in this city whose loved ones, whose livelihoods and whose hearts are here will still be here. I need you to do everything you can to help us find justice in this case for everyone, and a lasting justice for this community. The divisions that we see played out nationally and statewide need to end with this. There is no ‘they’ or ‘them,’ this is one community.”

Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul said the Department of Justice is investigating the shooting with a goal to move swiftly but as thoroughly as possible. Kaul said the DOJ wasn’t releasing information as of Monday afternoon about the identities or number of officers involved in the shooting.

Antamarian said rioting and looting are “not acceptable to the community,” and people who do so will be held accountable. A curfew is ordered in Kenosha to start at 8 p.m. Monday and end at 7 a.m. Tuesday. A curfew had also been in place Sunday night.

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers is calling the Wisconsin State Legislature into a special session next week on policing accountability and transparency.